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3rd TAC Hockey Over 60 Tournament

Le Touquet, France 15-16 April 2017

There were six teams in the tournament: listed in the programme as France, Italy, Netherlands, Scotland, TAC and Wales (Alliance have withdrawn). Each team played the other once and there were three points for a win and one for a draw. In the event of a tie, goal average and then goals for decided final positions.

Scottish Thistles performed extremely well in a social sense, and the weekend was greatly enjoyed by all the players and the four wives who accompanied them for a pleasant weekend in a very nice seaside resort in France. If winning matches and scoring goals are the criteria for the success of a tournament, Thistles would have come home disappointed, but there is more to it than that.

Injuries to Sandy Weir, who played only one half and a couple of minutes before aggravating a hamstring pull, and to Donald Dunbar who limped out after three and a half matches with a pulled calf muscle, did not help the cause of Scottish Thistles, though they can't be said to have run out of steam as they battled to the end of the tournament. The most significant problem, which seems to be a recurring one, was the inability to convert excellent lead up play into goals. Poacher required, please apply Scottish Thistles.

Tournoi Pâques Supervéterans Le Touquet 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Saturday 15 April

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Umpires

9h30

 

Welsh Dragons

2

Zestigplussers

0  

organisation

organisation

10h15

 

Supervétérans France

2

Scottish Thistles

0  

Welsh Dragons

Zestigplussers

11h

 

Italians

1

TAC

0  

Supervétérans France

Scottish Thistles

11h45

 

Welsh Dragons

0

Supervétérans France

0  

Italians

TAC

13h30

 

Zestigplussers

1

Italians

2  

Welsh Dragons

Supervétérans France

14h15

 

Scottish Thistles

0

TAC

0  

Zestigplussers

Italians

15h

 

Supervétérans France

3

Italians

1  

Scottish Thistles

TAC

15h45

 

Welsh Dragons

0

Scottish Thistles

0  

Supervétérans France

Italians

16h30

 

Zestigplussers

1

TAC

0  

Welsh Dragons

Scottish Thistles

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Sunday 16 April

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Umpires

9h30

 

Welsh Dragons

 

TAC

   

organisation

organisation

11h45

 

Scottish Thistles

0

Italians

0  

Welsh Dragons

TAC

11h

 

Supervétérans France

0

TAC

0  

Scottish Thistles

Italians

10h15

 

Zestigplussers

0

Scottish Thistles

0  

Supervétérans France

TAC

11h

 

Supervétérans France

1

TAC

0  

Zestigplussers

Scottish Thistles

13h15

 

Welsh Dragons

0

Italians

1  

Supervétérans France

TAC

12h30

 

Zestigplussers

0

Supervétérans France

0  

Welsh Dragons

Italians

Supervétérans France 2 Scottish Thistles 0

Scottish Thistles had a difficult start to the tournament, playing a strong French side containing many members of the Over 60 and Over 65 squads for the Celtic Cup at the end of April. They played some good hockey, John Bennett and Steve McDonald up front looking particularly prominent, but without converting the final ball into the circle. The French players were good on the ball and their passing was accurate, causing a good deal of trouble to the Scottish defence but again without troubling Chris Kalman in the Thistles goal. However the Scots were caught out when a shot from a French forward on the left wing beat the Thistles keeper who had half an eye on an unmarked French player coming in from the right. Half time gave the French a chance to work out a way of cutting down the Scots' opportunities to play the ball out from the back, and the home midfield began to exert more and more control over the game. The second goal for France was an untidy affair, with two French forwards and two Scottish defenders, plus keeper Chris Kalman, involved in a stramash in the circle, the ball eventually dribbling over the line off a French stick. The match ended 2-0 for the French side - probably a true reflection of the balance of play.

Scottish Thistles 0 TAC 1

Scottish Thistles started their second match strongly but were guilty of making the wrong pass at the end of some bright moves down the right, and could not convert the short corners which they won. Totally against the run of play, the French caught out the Scottish defence with a quick attack which left them two on one, and TAC put the ball away for a surprise ead. Captain John Smith finally arrived at half time and managed to change in time to take part in the last ten minutes of the match, Thistles pressed and pressed but their attacks lacked subtlety if not desperatin and no amount of pressure would bring a goal. The match ended in a 1-0 win for the hosts.

Scottish Thistles 0 Welsh Dragond 0

There is never a big margin in matches between these teams and so it was to be once again. The Scottish midfield effectively shut down the Welsh midfield and restricted their ability to feed their lone forward, and arguably produced their best performance so far, setting up a number of attacks which could have produced a goal. The best chance came when a Scottish shot was only half parried by Glyn Thomas in the Welsh goal, trickling behind him agonisingly slowly towards the goal, Unfortunately, no Scottish forward was in a position to reach the ball and a Dragons defender got his stick to the ball four inches from the line to save the goal. At the other end, a cross ball came up off Ian Dunbar's stick on to his chest, and the umpire played a good advantage as the ball fell to a Welsh forward whose strong shot was saved by Thistles keeper Chris Kalman. Honours even in aa matche where Thistles could count themselves unlucky not to edge out their Welsh rivals.

Scottish Thistles 0 Italians 0

In what was the best performance so far from Thistles, inability to find the net once again left them still looking for a win after four matches. The Italians, as usual, played a defensive formation with a back four which rarely crossed the half way line. The Scottish midfield effectively closed down their opponents, the Italians resorting to long balls up to their lone striker, whose robust method of holding up the ball by fair means and foul was penalised in the first half by the Welsh umpire and allowed without hindrance in the second by the French whistler at the other end. The same umpire denied Thistles two clear short corners in the first half. The Scots huffed and puffed, attacking down both flanks and putting effective balls into the circle, but no one could put the finishing touch on any of the moves. The match ended in a bizarre fashion, the Scots piling on the pressure as the clock ticked up to the 30 minute mark. Strangely, the umpires failed to signal for the end and, with Thistles relaxing with the match seemingly over, their opponents took advantage of the confusion and hit a series of balls into the Scottish circle. Finally the umpires brought the match to an end, leaving Thistles on only two points with a final match against the Dutch side to come.

Scottish Thistles 0 Zestigplussers 0

Thistles knew that only a win would lift them off bottom place and into a mid table position, and went at their Dutch opponents from the start. In spite of intense pressure from the Scots throughout the game, their inability to put the ball in the back of the net once more cost them dear. Captain John Smith had the best chance of the match, narrowly deflecting wide a hit into the Zestigplussers' circle, but for the most part the solid Netherlands defence were able to mop up the Scottish attackes. The match was played mostly in the Dutch half, though the occasional long ball out of defence found a Dutch forward. With no midfie3d to back him up, and Dobbin Dunbar standing firm in front of the Dutch left winger, all the Zestigplussers' attackes fell down before the ball had reached the Scottish circle and the barrage continued. It was all to no avail and the match finished in a 0-0 draw, the third in a row.

Scottish Thistles Squad

John Bennett, Ian Downie, Donald Dunbar, Ian Dunbar, Chris Kalman, Steve McDonald, Neil Mackenzie, David Margerison, Keith Raper, John Smith (Captain), Stuart Stephen, Tony Walker, Sandy Weir

Supporters

Marion Bennett, Catherine Downie, Lynda Margerison, Jean Weir